On the Air: June 6, 1938-Sept. 23, 1938, MBS, 4 p.m. ET, titled "Young Widder Jones"; Sept. 26, 1938-June 2, 1939, NBC, 11:30 a.m., retitled "Young Widder Brown"; June 5, 1939-March 23, 1951, NBC, 4:45 p.m.; March 26, 1951-Jan. 6, 1956, NBC, 4:30 p.m.; Jan. 9, 1956-June 22, 1956, NBC, 4:15 p.m.
Ellen Brown: Florence Freeman (1938-54), Wendy Drew (1954-56) ... Anthony Loring: Ned Wever ... Herbert Temple: Eric Dressler, House Jameson, Alexander Scourby ... Norine Temple: Joan Tompkins ... Maria Hawkins: Lorene Scott, Agnes Young, Alice Yourman ... Victoria Loring: Riza Joyce, Ethel Remey, Kay Strozzi ... Janey Brown: Marilyn Erskine ... Mark Brown: Tommy Donnelly ... Peter Turner: Clayton (Bud) Collyer
Announcer: George Ansbro
Theme Songs: "In the Gloaming," "Wonderful One"
Epigraph: "Again we present the moving human drama of a woman's heart and a mother's love -- Young Widder Brown. In the little town of Simpsonville, attractive Ellen Brown, with two children to support, faces the question of what she owes to them and what she owes to herself. Here's the story of life and love as we all know it."
Premise: How could a widowed mother allow her "two fatherless children" to spend decades deciding her fate, placing a hex on suitors they considered unworthy of their mom's hand? Such a supposition, coupled with amnesia, blindness, murder and mayhem of many sorts, destined Ellen Brown to spend many years in unfulfilled desire. Pursued by several handsome, brilliant and eligible bachelors, Ellen was careful to choose suitors who exhibited stability and promise. Unlike the deranged chaps that plagued several other serial heroines, Ellen's men were likely to be professionals -- physicians and lawyers. But producers Frank and Anne Hummert had a flair for creating obstacles that would prevent any of her long-term entanglements from reaching the altar. Engagements were frequently broken while the heroine pondered her fate. Even when every possible roadblock to marriage appeared to have evaporated, this enterprising young woman -- who ran a tearoom for a livelihood -- encountered yet other immovable objects that kept her from reaching any wedding chapels. Ellen could easily be considered radio's second-most-sought-after widow, following Helen Trent. Helen shared similar frustrations for 27 years, although most of her admirers were plain and simple lunatics. In a series titled "Young Widder Brown," it should have been clear to listeners that matrimony would never win out. If it had, the premise on which the soap opera was built would die, and the title would have no value. The serial was classic matinee misery, and circumstances dictated that it could never be otherwise.
Question to ponder: What caused the producers to alter this series' original name? If you think you know the answer, post it here....
Hosted by Jim Cox, author of The Great Radio Soap Operas (31 Classic Daytime Dramas, 1930-1960)
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